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Social Change and the Family

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My name is Raquel I am the daughter of Adelaida & Alexander. My grandparents from my mother’s side are Aida & Enrique.  My grandparents on my father’s side live far up country but those from my mother’s side live with us. They are not very old having married in 1958 when my grandma was 16. It is not clear when my grandfather was born as he was an orphan when he was taken up by the missionaries to be educated. That was in 1924. I am the fifth born among all the children in my family but second born among my mother’s children. I have three brothers who are not my mother’s biological sons but whom I regard as brothers because we have all lived together. My step mother has other children who I do not regard as my siblings because they are not my father’s sons. I have a baby sister who suffers cerebral palsy. In my family, we practice Roman Catholicism.

My parents are devout Christians who attend church every Sunday and give their offerings and tithes. We go to church as a family. Going to church is more of a culture than spiritual obligation. Biblical advice is nevertheless applied as the ideal code for right behavior. Failing to follow the bibles teaching is however not regarded as a grave offence. Both of my parents are degree holders. They ae both teachers at a local college. All my siblings are encouraged to study until the college level but to also follow our dreams in life. Two of my brothers are musicians while my little sister desires to be an actress. We often celebrate big holidays such as Christmas, New Year, and Easter together. When I was young, we used to hold large family gatherings and sometimes travel to a relative’s home.  Due to the hard economic times and the daily commitments on members of the extended family this does not always happen. It is not unusual for a once important holiday to go unnoticed. It is a long time since I met most of my cousins, aunts, and uncles.

My grandmother is not educated and has never joined formal employment she concentrated her life in raising ten of my mother’s siblings. She had nine daughters and one son who came last. Seven of her children are still alive. Having many children at that time was not a big deal although the lack of a boy child forced people to get more children.  Contraceptives were not easily available and acceptable at their time. My grandfather is a retired teacher today he operates a small convenient shop in our neighborhood.

Our family experienced a huge shake up when my eldest brother declared that he was gay. That was in 1997 wheen there was much stigma and phobia against gay people. In the same year, my sister was born and she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This was a difficult period as my parents were dealing with two huge events. Our extended families from both sides were supportive and this in a way contributed to the existing rift to date. Tension has however reduced and we no longer care about what people think of us from the outside realms. All these huddles have made our family the unique and have helped us to learn how to love and support each other.  My eldest brother later got married in 2005 they got a son and divorced a year later.

Many changes have taken place in my family historically. Both of my parents are divorcees from their first marriages. In addition, the girl education is equally prioritized as that of a boy. The family six has also increased tenfold with other families opting for even fewer children. The religion is not strictly observed and one is less likely to experience discrimination in church as a result of something they did or something they are. People do not always go to church as before. My grandparents always say that we are a lost generation, they are staunch followers. In addition, both the man and the woman of the family are bread winners and contribute in parenting in near equal proportions.

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